nebroadwe: Write write write edit edit edit edit edit & post. (Writer)
The Magdalen Reading ([personal profile] nebroadwe) wrote2013-07-17 06:39 pm
Entry tags:

Fanfiction: Falsely True (Transformers Prime)

Title: Sketch: Falsely True
Fandom: Transformers Prime
Character(s): Ratchet
Pairing(s): None
Rating: G
Word Count: ~1300
Warnings: Major spoilers for season 3, episode 11, "Persuasion"
A/N: This sketch came into being five minutes after I finished watching "Persuasion" and I have hastened to edit and post it because I am certain the scenario it depicts — an unsupervised Ratchet — will be jossed by "Synthesis." One character alone in a room with his thoughts is a difficult recipe for drama; plus, no writer worth his or her salt would pass up the opportunity for a snark-off between Jeffrey Coombs and Steve Blum or Daran Norris. Crossposted to [community profile] transficsation. Concrit welcomed with free upgrades.
Dedication: For Eric and Mark and Kevin and Charlie, from whom I learned just enough to fake my way through a conversation (or a story) about computing.

For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?
— Mark 8:36 (NASB)

          Ratchet has to admit that the wages of collaboration are excellent. He hasn't worked in a lab this well-equipped since he left the Ark and never in such ... splendid isolation. His every act is monitored, of course, and the guards stationed in the corridor have orders to offline him if he so much as pokes a digit outside, but otherwise the Decepticons do not trespass upon his solitude. Megatron is nothing if not shrewd: Starscream would be hovering at Ratchet's elbow to gloat over his defection, but the Lord of the Decepticons withdrew rather than rub corrosive into the wound. No doubt he will return if positive results are too long delayed, but for now Ratchet has no one to defy and nothing external to resist. The only way to keep his processor from implementing an endless loop of self-recrimination is to lose himself in the project before him.

          Such concentration comes easily to a mech who has performed surgery in the field with energon blasts thundering in his audial receptors — or groundbridge maintenance to the alleged music of Slash Monkey. Here there is nothing to disturb his focus but the occasional rumble of the Nemesis's thrusters as the ship makes minute corrections to its orbit. His rations are provided regularly, enough energon to top off tanks half-empty for so long they've almost forgotten what it's like to be full. Ratchet stares unseeing for a moment at the data he has been assessing, one servo absently tracing the familiar yet foreign lines of his console, several generations younger than the one cannibalized from the Harbinger and an order of magnitude more powerful. Decepticon engineering never does fail to impress. And he has only to comm for a tool — any tool — to have it delivered, no questions asked, though someone is surely keeping track of his wish list. He vents a wry snort. The troopers who make these deliveries are hurried and cautious in his presence, but to that, at least, he's accustomed. Gruffness has predominated in Ratchet's personality matrix ever since he earned the seniority to maintain such a front, a buffer between the compassion proper to a medic and the suffering with which his profession brings him into regular contact. He has never been unsociable, merely self-sufficient. Some of the best cycles of his life have been spent sequestered in a lab like this one, his processor wholly engaged with a multifractal problem, refueling and recharge both subordinate to the exhilaration of conducting cutting-edge research.

          Ratchet wonders if this is what the Pit will be like: a nightmare mockingly clothed in the trappings of a daydream.

          He tries to tell himself that he is buying time — time for Optimus and the others to track him down, mount a rescue, save the day — but his self-censor rejects this analysis unless he continually bolsters it. He shutters his optics in search of equilibrium, but when he opens them they are drawn yet again to the split-screen monitor in the far corner of the lab. One window shows a live feed of the reconstruction of the Omega Lock; the other, a series of images of Cybertron as he last saw it, a lifeless, ruined husk.

          But still, and always, home.

          Ratchet has hundreds of terabytes of engrams of Cybertron not just from before the war, but from before the schism. Among his current comrades, only Optimus can say as much. Primus knows the place wasn't perfect — all the privileges of Ratchet's position couldn't shield him from that insight — but it was alive with achievement and camaraderie and joy even at the lowest ebb of its ideals. He has purged many files from his drives over the millennia, but he has always kept his private proofs of that, from the conviviality of his student days in Iacon through the grueling, challenging shifts of his medical apprenticeship to the battles he waged and won with sparkless administrators to better the lot of his patients. His association with Orion Pax widened and deepened a commitment he would have been embarrassed to articulate at the time, but Ratchet would never have fought so fiercely for Cybertron had he not loved it so well.

          And now, perhaps, he has the means to heal the wounds his defense inflicted.

          Armed with that inducement, Megatron hardly need threaten him and they both know it. Oh, Ratchet's spark pulses unevenly at the the thought of danger to his fellow Autobots and their human allies, especially the children, especially Rafael. Their safekeeping would be sufficient reason to feign compliance, if for one picocycle he were foolish enough to trust Megatron's word to spare them in exchange for Ratchet's services. The ex-gladiator's ambition is the sole constant of his career; the supreme power he failed to win by acclamation he has sought ever since to take by force. All else is subsidiary to that end, even the restoration of Cybertron. And yet as long as its restoration serves Megatron's purpose, he and Ratchet do share a common goal, loath as the medic was to acknowledge it. Nor is this the first such convergence of objectives between Autobots and Decepticons: Optimus himself partnered with Megatron to save the Earth from Unicron, after all.

          And withstood him to destroy the Omega Lock rather than see it misused.

          You know as well as I that Megatron will use a reconstructed Lock to cyberform both Cybertron and Earth, and that is one abuse of power we cannot allow.

          Ratchet would never claim to be wiser than his Prime, but even with Optimus's stern negative still cached, he could not and cannot deny that, whatever else Megatron's scheme entails, it does offer the warring factions of Cybertron the chance — perhaps their last chance — once again to possess a planet worth a war.

          Without the blessing of the Allspark? his self-censor protested. Madness! — only to be silenced by the sight of the great engine hanging outboard the Nemesis. He knew then that his capitulation was inevitable, waiting in the queue ever since Megatron proposed combining Synth-En and CNA to create an alternative cybermatter. Or perhaps — Ratchet shifts uneasily from pede to pede — perhaps some subroutine buried deep in his programming was preparing the ground even earlier, before Soundwave shocked him into stasis back at base. Did he fail to defend himself because he was taken off guard or because, having deduced Megatron's intent, he was unconsciously ripe for surrender? He has run diagnostics, but the results are inconclusive. All Ratchet knows is that the defiance with which he confronted his captors proved itself mere show — and that Megatron saw straight through it, as if the medic's unwilling sympathy with his plan were patent.

          How can we not try, when the means finally lie within our reach?

          Ratchet harbors no illusions about his fate once he has finished his work. The wages of treachery are generous, but its retirement package, as the humans might say, sucks. He does not expect to outlive his success — but he also knows that, should the opportunity to stand beside the Omega Lock when it activates not be freely offered, he will grovel at Megatron's pedes if he must in order to remain online long enough to see the results of their experiment. He can, he thinks, endure even the Pit if the last memory he carries with him into the fire is of dawn breaking over the newly risen silver domes and crystal spires of home.

          He glances once more at the monitor, then turns all his processing power to the task he has been set, refusing to extrapolate how he might face the Pit if he should fail.

[Acknowledgments: Transformers Prime was created by Hasbro Studios. Copyright for this property is held by Hasbro.]

Post a comment in response:

Anonymous( )Anonymous This account has disabled anonymous posting.
OpenID( )OpenID You can comment on this post while signed in with an account from many other sites, once you have confirmed your email address. Sign in using OpenID.
Account name:
If you don't have an account you can create one now.
HTML doesn't work in the subject.


Notice: This account is set to log the IP addresses of everyone who comments.
Links will be displayed as unclickable URLs to help prevent spam.